It’s a mild Spring day in NYC, and a girl in a floral dress and denim jacket on, long black hair in a ponytail, Summer, is in the study lounge. She has earbuds in her ears as she’s looking her a book on the bookshelf. She feels most at peace when she’s in the library of her college, looking through books she’s interested in reading, and sits at a table with her music playing in her ears, waiting for her next class to start.
She sees a book on the top shelf but just before she reaches for it, her phone in her pocket starts to vibrate. She presses the answer button on her earbuds and instantly smiles after hearing who’s voice is on the other end; it’s the boy she’s been secretly crushing on named Evan. Summer doesn’t know how loud she’s giving directions to Evan to meet her at the library, but apparently someone else does: the person on the other side of the bookshelf. Her ex named Frankie.
He overhears the conversation Summer is having on the phone, but he shuts his friends up next to him to eavesdrop.
Friend #1: Man Frankie, just forget about that bitch, she probably talkin’ to one of her side guys sounding all giddy like that.
Frankie starts fuming. He doesn’t like the lack of control he has on Summer ever since they broke up a couple of months ago. A part of him doesn’t want her, but a part of him also doesn’t want anyone else to have her. He feels Summer slipping away from his fingers, and he does not like it.
He notices Summer’s conversation is over and hears the blasting of music coming from her earbuds. He decides to walk to the next aisle, the same one Summer is on.
With Summer’s favorite Kpop group blasting in her ears, she attempts to reach up for the book that is on the top shelf. She gets on her tippy toes in hopes she could reach it. She sees another hand reach for the book and grabs it. She sees who it is and she is startled. Frankie looks down at her and smiles.
Frankie: No need to be scared, Angel-cakes, just helping an old friend out.
Summer takes the book from Frankie.
Summer: Th-Thank you.
As she’s about to turn the other way, Frankie attempts to stop her.
Frankie: Whoa, whoa, hey there – slow it down, I’m not going to bite. Can we talk?
Summer looks at Frankie; she doesn’t know what his true intentions are, but she feels too scared to tell him to fuck off. She just stands there.
Frankie: Look, I’m sorry for everything that was said and done. Our relationship had its ups and downs, but I really did love you. You’ve helped me a lot back in high-school and when we came to college together, it was suppose to be me and you against the world. I’m sorry we couldn’t be that.
Frankie puts his hand out to handshake hers as a sign of compromise and forgiveness. Summer looks around her environment and then back at Frankie.
Summer: Is someone watching you or something? Are your dumb friends betting on if you can swoon me like we’re in high-school? Is this your community-service-do-a-good-deed mission? Because if not, then there’s no reason for you to be doing this right now.
Summer nervously tries to walk past Frankie, but he doesn’t allow her to. He looks down at her, and she looks up at him.
Summer: Let me go, Frankie.
Frankie: I’m standing here apologizing for my actions, Summer. Can you be a little more considerate?
Summer: Not to the biggest asshole on the planet.
Summer tries to nudge her way past Frankie, but he stands as tall and wide like a tree. She fights for control, and he’s clearly fighting back as well. He backs her into a wall and stares her down.
Frankie: *aggressively* I don’t care how big and tough you think you are, Summer, but I know that’s not who you are. You’re this little, scared and naive girl that thinks everyone round you likes you and isn’t looking for anything other than *in mocking voice* “friendship”.
Summer: Go fuck yourself.
Frankie gets even closer and begins to wrap around his arm around Summer; she’s visibly uncomfortable.
Frankie: I rather you instead.
His hand slowly goes up the back of Summer’s thigh and she pushes him off of him. She’s panicking and causing a scene in the library.
Frankie: *laughs* Yo it was a fucking joke, my God you aren’t a fun person anymore, angel-cakes.
Summer: *angrily* I swear to God that if you don’t leave me alone, I–
Frankie: You’ll do what? Run home and cry and spread lies about me? I hear what you say about me, Summer. How could I, in any shape or form, rape my own girlfriend?
Summer is now fully panicking. He knows she’s been openly speaking out about her experience with other survivors in a college support group. She’s now scared for her own life.
Frankie: Chloe’s friend told me.
Chloe: the girl in the support group who’s now dating Frankie now has a friend in the group where she felt the safest in. Summer secrets are now out to the last person she ever wanted to know them.
Before Summer completely shuts down from her surroundings, she hears a familiar voice. She hears the voice speaking in a different language, but she understands it, thanks to her mother who taught it to her at a young age.
Evan: 누나 괜찮아? (are you okay?)
Summer looks at Evan, who is standing behind Frankie looking at what’s happening. Thank God he’s here.
Frankie turns around and sees Evan.
Frankie: Man, get outta here – this isn’t any of your business.
Evan nonchalantly looks at Frankie, and then back at Summer.
Evan: 도움이 필요하세요? (do you need help?)
Summer looks at Evan, not knowing what he’s doing until she realizes the best way to get out of this situation is to secretly let him know what is happening.
Frankie is now looking at Evan, annoyed at his presence.
Frankie: Hello? Foreign exchange student? Mind your fucking business and get out of here, will ya?
Summer: *in a panic* 나는 편안하지 않다. 제발 도와주세요! (I am not comfortable, please help me!)
Frankie: *turns to face Summer* You know this Chinese bullshit too?! You’re talking shit or something?
Evan begins to worry about Summer’s safety and tries to get the attention on himself.
Evan: 자신의 크기를 선택하십시오! (pick on someone your own size!)
Frankie turns around, visibly even more annoyed at Evan. He tries to get rid of Evan once and for all.
Frankie: Yo, we are in America, learn some fucking English or go back to whatever Chinese place you come from!
Frankie then makes more racially charged stereotype noises to Evan. He stands there; straight-faced and unbothered.
Evan: Or else what, dumbass?
Frankie is taken back at the sudden language change, but even more so he’s fuming at the name calling.
Frankie: The fuck you just called me?
Evan: Oh, you didn’t understand the English? Let me try it in a different language: 백치. Burro. Or, in actual Chinese: 笨.
Frankie pushes Evan back, which comes him to stumble a bit. He quickly gets in defensive mode.
Frankie: I suggest you getting out of my fucking face and mind your damn business. Do I have to translate that with my fists?
Summer nervously watches with her back still on the wall that Frankie backed her in. She’s worried for Evan; he clearly doesn’t know that Frankie is strong enough to knock him to the ground, but Evan visibly doesn’t look bothered. Is he not bothered?
Evan just stares at Frankie; Summer has never seen Evan look this angry, yet put together in the couple of months she got to know him. Evan doesn’t move – he just stares at the person in front of him like they are the only two people in this room.
Evan: 계속해. (go ahead)
Summer immediately runs to the two boys to try to stop Frankie for beating Evan up. She forcefully tugs the back of Frankie’s shirt, which causes him to turn around and swing at Summer. She falls to the ground. Evan snaps out of his anger and looks down at Summer; he immediately rushes to her side, not minding Frankie any business.
Frankie: *cowardly leaves* Fuck this man, she’s not even worth getting in trouble for.
Frankie gets his bookbag from the floor and leaves the scene. Evan is feeling a wave of emotions: anger for Frankie not caring for hitting Summer, and worry for Summer’s condition. She’s out cold and her upper lip is cut open. He calls out for help, and a moment later, the study lounge security guard is standing over Even, wondering what happened while people stand around, spectating.
Blurry vision. Summer’s first initial thoughts are that her vision is blurry, and the florescent lights above her are annoying. She groans in pain and squints her eyes.
Evan’s immediately turns to Summer after seeing and hearing her wake up from the bed. He gives her a smile of reassurance.
Evan: Hey, Summer. How are you feeling?
Summer: *in pain* Like I’ve been steam rolled…
Evan smirks at Summer’s sudden comparison. The smile gets serious almost immediately after.
Evan: I’m sorry I let this happen. Like, *deep exhale* it should’ve been me.
Summer: It’s fine; nothing that I never had happen before.
Evan is suddenly sullen. Who would ever want to hurt someone as small and precious as Summer? The girl with such a soft but gut-hitting laugh. The girl who’s always there for her friends even when she sometimes doesn’t get that same love back. The girl who’s company is his favorite ever.
He snaps out of the thought when the nurse is walking towards Summer and the bed she’s laying down on.
Nurse: Okay, so it’s just deep cut on the top if the lip, nothing that won’t heal in a couple of weeks; and your head; how does it feel?
Summer: I’m okay, I just have pounding headache.
Nurse: *takes note* No dizziness, no confusion, out of balance feeling?
Nurse: I must say, Summer, this is the first time I’m seeing you in a long time… I thought everything was now okay.
Evan is focused in the conversation, turning his head to the person who is speaking at each given moment. He doesn’t understand the dynamic between them but Summer and the nurse seem… acquainted.
She turns her head and looks at Evan.
Evan: What happened, sir?
Before Evan can even begin the conversation, Summer chimes in.
Summer: I was in the library trying to reach a book on the shelf. I told Evan not the worry that I’ll get it because he had his hands full. I slipped off the shelf and banged my head really hard on the shelves.
Evan is puzzled; he doesn’t understand why she’d lie about the incident. Is she covering him up? Is she still afraid of Frankie?
The nurse looks at Summer intently.
Nurse: *turns to Evan* You’d tell me if she’s lying, right?
Evan: *without thinking* Yeah, she’s telling the truth though. She sorta hates when I make her feel small, y’know? She wanted to prove that she can reach it which she didn’t need to.
The nurse smiles, she seems a little bit more at ease.
Nurse: Well, I’m glad it was an accident and not intentional this time. You can stay here as long as you like, you know the drill.
The nurse walks away with her notepad and goes into her office in the little room next to the bed. Evan looks at Summer in confusion.
Evan: *whispers* Why didn’t you tell her what really happened? What did she mean by intentional?
Summer: Nothing, it’s… nothing.
They both stay silent for a moment. Evan ponders the thought and then it suddenly hits him: this isn’t her first time being in this nurse’s office with bruises this bad. She’s been in here because of Frankie when they were dating. He’s suddenly angry, frustrated, but sad. Sad that Summer went through years of not feeling worthy enough for happiness, sad that she is so familiar being in this nurse’s office, sad that she has to lie about how she feels because she’s scared for anyone knowing the complete truth.
He gets up from his seat and hugs Summer.
Summer is taken back by the sudden hug. She instantly hugs him back; comfortable and safe. She doesn’t know how she’s gotten so comfortable with Evan, but he always felt like she could always hide in his presence whenever life gets too rough to handle in the moment.
This is that moment, and he knows it is, so he keeps her in his arms.
— The End —